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My Brother Nikhil

Earnest if slow-moving Indian drama "My Brother Nikhil" sympathetically chronicles the plight of a champion swimmer who's ostracized after it is discovered that he has been infected with HIV. Case-pleading, dignified pic from writer-director Onir came out in March to disappointing B.O. on the home front and is too tactful for export.

With:
With: Sanjai Suri, Juhi Chawla, Victor Banerjee, Lillette Dubey, Purab Kohli, Gautam Kapoor, Dipannita Sharma, Shweta Kwaatra, Shayan Munshi.

Earnest if slow-moving Indian drama “My Brother Nikhil” sympathetically chronicles the plight of a champion swimmer who’s ostracized after it is discovered that he has been infected with HIV. Case-pleading, dignified pic from writer-director Onir came out in March to disappointing B.O. on the home front and is too tactful (especially regarding lead character’s sexuality) for export.

Cocky Nikhil (Sanjai Suri) is coastal Goa’s new swimming champion, realizing a dream sacrificed by his hard-driving father (Victor Banerjee) so he could run the family antiques biz. But Nikhil chafes at parental pressure to get married; he’s unwilling to confess he’s gay, and that best friend Nigel (Purab Kohli) is his lover (though pic scarcely allows them physical contact). When a blood test reveals Nikhil has contracted HIV, he’s kicked off the swim team and dragged by police to a filthy “quarantine” where he languishes for months before being legally freed. Expected family histrionics and public prejudices are aired before the tasteful tragic conclusion. Too many characters get direct-to-camera narration interludes, however, slowing the otherwise polished and well acted tale.

My Brother Nikhil

India

Production: A Four Front Films presentation. Produced by Sanjay Suri, Vicky Tejwani, Onir, Raj Kaushal. Directed, written, edited by Onir.

Crew: Camera (color, Cinemascope), Arvind Kannabiran; music, Viveck Phillip; production designers, Shamita Sarkar, Ambika Suri, Tina Nagpaul. Reviewed at San Francisco Lesbian & Gay Film Festival, June 19, 2005. Hindi dialogue. Running time: 118 MIN.

With: With: Sanjai Suri, Juhi Chawla, Victor Banerjee, Lillette Dubey, Purab Kohli, Gautam Kapoor, Dipannita Sharma, Shweta Kwaatra, Shayan Munshi.

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